Conference Week 2012 : President focus on 'Club care'

FIA President Jean Todt opens Conference Week 2012 with promise to increase dialogue with clubs.

In front of 206 delegates from 90 clubs in 72 countries, President Jean todt yesterday opened FIA Conference Week 2012 in Prague by saying that, in the future, the FIA will expand the portfolio of its Mobility arm to include an area he dubbed 'club care'.

Following a welcome address from Dr Oldřich Vaníček, President of host club UAMK, President Todt began his speech to the opening plenary session of the four-day programme of events by saying that in recent years the organisation has been on a mission of reform and that the benefits of that review are now being felt across the federation. “The journey has been one of constructive change,” he said.

“The motivation for this has been to improve the services and support we are able to offer to our 240 sport and mobility clubs around the world.” Highlighting a stronger regional focus, a new commission structure, new funding arrangements with the FIA Foundation, the introduction of the FIA University, and the reform of governance, President Todt said the changes are creating a federation that is more modern, responsive and relevant to its membership”.

However, he added, that there is still room for improvement. “In particular, we need to improve the dialogue we have with all of you,” he said, referring to member clubs. “Over the next few years we will place a greater focus on how we can communicate with our members and how our members can better communicate with the FIA and with each other.

“Looking to the future, I have challenged the FIA Mobility department to add ‘club care’ to their two existing areas of focus – public policy and services,” he added. “In particular, I have asked that the Mobility Secretariat look at ways to improve conferences and meetings, to ensure that they bring real value and useful knowledge to clubs. This week’s conference week is a step towards that goal.

“I have asked them to develop a system to look after our clubs better. This is on the way and Mobility expects it to be in place by the end of this year. I’ve also asked that we look at ways to improve the affiliation process to make it more welcoming, transparent and informative. It is important that we take a more active interest in clubs once they become affiliated by working with regions to help ensure their viability and success and detecting any challenges they are facing."

Deputy President Brian Gibbons continued President Todt’s theme by focusing on the teamwork represented by Conference Week and how this spirit of co-operation is being fostered by the FIA.

“Sharing thoughts and experiences is the real value of Conference,” he said. “The willingness of clubs to work together is one of the strengths of FIA Mobility and leads directly on to reflection on comments I made recently at the Mobility World Council on the value of this teamwork. “That is why over the past year we have set out to build the strongest possible team,” he concluded. “Not only within the FIA administration but also involving the clubs and the regions. With that new team very much in place, I think we could not be in a better position to unlock the potential of this unique global alliance, FIA Mobility, and deliver tangible benefits for clubs and for your members.”

Both President Todt and Deputy President Gibbons thanked the outgoing Commission chairmen and then gave an opportunity to the incoming chairmen of the recently created Policy and Service Commission, Johann Grill (ADAC) and Frank Fotia (CAA) to outline their strategy and work plan for the next year.

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